'It's always challenging to play here'

'It's always challenging to play here'

Acoustic Magic

Rakesh Chaurasia, nephew of flautist Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, who has followed his uncle’s footsteps is one of the best bansuri players in the country.

On a visit to the City recently, he spoke candidly about his childhood, his
love for the instrument and his future plans.

“It was very pleasant for me because I was staying with him (Hariji) since I was
a child. He used to practice 8-10 hours a day and the sound of the flute was always in my ears and mind as I played with my toys. I was only four when at a family function, he asked if anyone would like to play with him. I raised my hand although I didn’t even know the name of the instrument,” Rakesh reminisces. “That moment gave me a boost and when I tried to play with him, I could actually do it. Acoustic sounds are not readymade — you create the sound first, then the music. But I got it immediately and since that day, it’s been my favourite toy,” he smiles.

He talks about his most memorable moment with his guru. “I used to learn with senior students every Sunday and after the class, he’d teach me personally for 10 minutes. There was one day when everybody was playing and suddenly, he told me to play the same piece in double tempo and I played it. I don’t know how I did it. But that’s the only time he looked at me and said Wah!” he recalls.

Asked about the relevance of the flute today, he says, “It’s a very popular instrument and for decades, has been in all corners of the world with different names. But in Indian classical music, it’s still a young instrument that was introduced by Pannalal Ghoshji. After him came Hari ji, who gave it a totally different dimension. It’s as important as vocals because you’re singing on the flute. And in many ways, it’s like a violin — it gels easily with any instrument,” notes Rakesh.

Having played here many times, he always looks forward to returning to the City.“The Bangalore audience is very concerned and aware of the music. It’s always
challenging to play here,” he shares.

About his future plans, he says, “I’m just trying to keep it up and perfect my act. Carrying the ‘Chaurasia’ name means people have expectations. They’re listening to you keeping him (Hariji) in mind,” he concludes.






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